Judge Rejects Ghislaine Maxwell’s Requests to Exclude the Public Access to Jury Selection Particulars
The Washington Examiner reports U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected requests from Jeffrey Epstein’s former associate seeking exclusion of the public and the press from observing jury selection that’s underway this week. In her ruling, Judge Nathan pointed to the “intense media and public interest in this case” to justify allowing jury selection to be viewed through a video streaming into an overflow courtroom. She also denied a defense request to prohibit public access to a pretrial, voir dire questionnaire.
Additional Derek Chauvin Trial Jurors Speak Out
Seven previously silent jurors in the notorious case were interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon last week. This preceded the release this week of the identity of all 15 jurors by the trial judge Peter Cahill. USA Today has excerpted segments of the interviews.
“When Juror Misconduct Doesn’t Matter: Opioid MDL Edition”
That's the title of a Reuters article discussing the contours of mistrial motion made in a bellwether trial brought by a pair of Ohio counties in multi-district litigation against several opioid retailers. In the third week of trial, the parties learned an unnamed juror handed fellow jurors a printout from her home computer that seemed to cast doubt on previous testimony by a witness for defendant Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. The juror’s action stemmed from the witness’s response to a juror question, “Did Walgreens supply the anti-overdose medication naloxone, or Narcan, at no charge to patients with high-dose opioid prescriptions?” The witness said, “Walgreens sometimes worked with local health departments to distribute Narcan for free, but otherwise patients could bill their insurance companies or pay for it themselves.” The researching juror later told the judge she knew Narcan was publicly available at no cost and “felt very strongly that I didn’t want anyone to think that they had to pay.” Attorneys for five defendants and (only initially) plaintiffs’ counsel moved for a mistrial. After interviewing each juror individually and hearing legal arguments, U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster denied the motions with a finding that none of the jurors were prejudiced by their colleague’s research. The mischievous juror was dismissed.
Arizona Supreme Court Publishes Task Force Report on Jury Selection
After months of intense work, the Statewide Jury Selection Working Group of the Task Force on Jury Data Collection, Practices, and Procedures this week published its report responding to a request by the Arizona Supreme Court’s for recommendations for rule and practices changes in light of the Court’s decision to eliminate peremptory challenges. Their recommendations include:
- Encourage case-specific written juror questionnaires when feasible.
- Permit extended oral voir dire with increased participation from the parties and an emphasis on open-ended questions.
- Discourage attempts by the trial judge to rehabilitate prospective jurors through leading, conclusory questioning.
- Respect for the difference in summoning practices of each court.
- Maintain proportionality in the length of jury selection to the complexity of the case.
- Ensure a comprehensive record of all case-specific answers provided during voir dire; and
- Maintain juror privacy.
2021 Munsterman Award Winner Revealed
We're happy to announce Harris County (Texas) District Clerk Marilyn Burgess has been named the recipient of the 2021 G. Thomas Munsterman Award.